CHICAGO -- As his bat heats up, so will the trade rumors surrounding Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano. He hit two more home run on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels, giving him eight over his last 44 at-bats and 15 for the year.
Whether he stays or goes manager Dale Sveum is simply impressed with his attitude.
“I can go on and on about his work ethic and caring about winning,” Sveum said before Tuesday’s game against the Angels. “Closing in on 400 home runs. He’s had one heck of a career. You can’t take anything away from his character and what he means to some of the younger players if they’re paying attention. It’s pretty special to have a guy like that on the team.”
Soriano hit his 386th career home run on Tuesday, good for 58th place all-time. Last year in July he used his trade veto rights, turning down a chance to go to the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants, and he’s not committing to anything this time around -- at least not yet.
"I don’t think about a trade," Soriano said recently. "I just want to come to the ballpark and play my game. If there is something on the table, they will let me know about it."
Baker getting closer: Scott Baker threw a four-inning simulated game on Tuesday, moving him closer to a minor league rehab stint. After Baker is evaluated the Cubs will determine where he will pitch next. He’s expected to make 3-4 rehab starts before finally making his Cubs debut, possibly in early August.
Baker has been rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2011. He signed a one-year contract with the Cubs last winter.
Sveum keeps mum: Unless he’s asked by the front office, Sveum doesn’t give his input into personnel decisions. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t like to keep free-agent-to-be pitcher Matt Garza in Chicago.
It’s always nice to have a guy like that around,” Sveum said before the Cubs played the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. “Unless I’m asked my opinion that’s Theo (Epstein) and Jed’s (Hoyer) territory.”
Rizzo's slump: Anthony Rizzo reached base a couple of times and homered on Tuesday night, and Sveum is hoping he is coming out of the slump which saw his batting average drop to .239.
“There’s a lot of body involved in his swing right now that we’re trying to get squared away and get him back to using his hands and not so much body,” Sveum said.
Rizzo also struck out with men on base so he’s not completely back. His home run was his first since June 23 and just his third since May 18.